Former circuit judge, father of Mississippi U.S. Sen. Wicker dies at 98

Published 2:33 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., confirmed the passing of his father, Judge Thomas Frederick Wicker, 98, who passed away Friday morning at Baptist Memorial Hospital East in Memphis:

“My father spent his life in service to our country and our family. A World War II veteran, a public servant, a dedicated husband and father, and faithful Christian, he was a role model for many – and he was my hero. Our family is devastated to lose him, but we are grateful for a life well-lived, the wisdom he instilled in us, and the many years we spent together. On behalf of the entire Wicker family, Gayle and I deeply appreciate the expressions of sympathy and prayers we have received.”

Fred Wicker was born in Hickory Flat on April 7, 1924. He grew up in Benton County, attended Hickory Flat High School and later was a student at Holmes Junior College on an athletic scholarship. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. Wicker went to Fort Jackson, S.C., for his basic and advanced training in Field Artillery and Communications. He was later assigned to Europe to the 9th Air Force, 36th Station Compliment Squadron where he worked in communications. He served in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, England, Luxemburg and most noteworthy in Normandy earning four battle stars. After the war, he arrived in New York on December 25, 1945, and was later discharged from the Army Air Force at Camp Shelby on New Year’s Day 1946.

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Wicker returned to Holmes Junior College after his service and graduated in June 1946. He continued his education at Ole Miss where he received his law degree in May 1948 and was president of his senior class. He met his wife Wordna Threadgill at Holmes Junior College and they were married on June 27, 1948.  He opened up his law practice in Pontotoc in July 1948. His wife taught home economics at Randolph, Algoma, Thaxton, and Ecru High Schools before becoming his legal secretary.

Wicker had a long and distinguished career as city attorney and county prosecutor for 12 years, state senate for 3 years, and was appointed by Governor John Bell Williams as Circuit Judge for the 1st Judicial District in 1970. He served in that capacity for 20 years and retired in 1990. He and his wife had three children Ellen Wicker Cummings, Senator Roger F. Wicker, as well as their foster daughter, Mindy Staten Parrish.

Judge Wicker carried on his public service after retirement as an active member of the American Legion, the Rotary Club, Sons of the American Revolution, and Sons of the Confederate Veterans. He served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church, Pontotoc, Mississippi.

In addition to his children, Judge Wicker is survived by five grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.